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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Mediæval Hymns and Sequences. Hora Novissima. III. “Brief life is here our portion”

John Mason Neale, trans. (1818–1866)

(From “Bernard of Clugny”)
(Selected Passages)

BRIEF life is here our portion;

Brief sorrow, short-liv’d care;

The life that knows no ending,

The tearless life, is there.

O happy retribution!

Short toil, eternal rest;

For mortals and for sinners

A mansion with the blest!

That we should look, poor wand’rers,

To have our Home on high!

That worms should seek for dwellings

Beyond the starry sky!

To all one happy guerdon

Of one celestial grace;

For all, for all who mourn their fall,

Is one eternal place:

And martyrdom hath roses

Upon that heavenly ground:

And white and virgin lilies

For virgin-souls abound.

Their grief is turned to pleasure;

Such pleasure, as below

No human voice can utter,

No human heart can know:

And after fleshly scandal,

And after this world’s night,

And after storm and whirlwind,

Is calm, and joy, and light.

And now we fight the battle,

But then shall wear the crown

Of full and everlasting

And passionless renown:

And now we watch and struggle,

And now we live in hope,

And Syon, in her anguish,

With Babylon must cope:

But He Whom now we trust in

Shall then be seen and known,

And they that know and see Him

Shall have Him for their own.